Wednesday, December 30, 2009

"Crisis" Management

Since Thanksgiving, the JCC has had a third teacher working in Jack's classroom. Kylie is a senior at Ohio University majoring in Early Childhood Intervention. She has made tremendous strides in eliminating Jack's flight risk, keeping him away from doors and helping with his meltdowns. We still need work with using out words when we are mad, frustrated, sad or jealous, but, hey, he is four.

Meanwhile, Osi and I have been trying to find an aide to help in the classroom to shadow Jack and give the teachers some help. We interviewed a gal whose resume was impressive, but who was not at all the "warm and fuzzy" we were seeking. She seemed unenthusiastic to be on the interview, yet alone in the classroom. We were going to give her a shot anyway, out of desperation, but she also decided it wasn't a good fit and waited until yesterday to tell us she wouldn't be taking the job next week.

Jack has two teachers in his room. He had two teachers from August until Thanksgiving. While this did present logistical challenges while he was a flight risk and constantly at the doors, they managed (Again - not ideal, but they did it).

Kylie's last day at the JCC is today. Yesterday I informed the social worker, teachers and administration that our aide had flaked on us. Apparently now we need to meet to formulate "A Plan."

Well, folks, the plan is that we will continue to pay the $600 JCC membership fee that is required to get into the preschool. We'll continue to pay almost $1000 a month for Jack to attend preschool. In return, how about you teach him some shit and quit complaining that he is acting like a four-year-old when he is, you know, FOUR-YEARS-OLD.

My beef is this: I feel like 90% of the behaviors this group has a problem with is because Jack is a 4-year-old boy, not because he is diagnosed on the autism spectrum. however, because he IS diagnosed on the spectrum, they find it an easy excuse to say "Jack made sad choices today," or "Jack has quite a few meltdowns today." You know what? So do other four-year-olds. You know how I know? I have stood in the classroom and watched them do it.

So man up, educators, administrators and social workers. A diagnosis is NOT an excuse to sweep all undesirable behavior into the "developmentally disables" category. Sometimes he is just pissed because he is 4 and boy, that can really suck some days.

We have a meeting with the school system at the end of January to discuss Jack's IEP. Once we have the IEP, we can apply for the Autism Scholarship. This is $625 a week that helps meet the child's education needs as stated in the IEP. This is MORE than enough to hire an aide for the amount of time we need them in the classroom each week. However, we don;t get that money until the IEP is in place and the scholarship approved - probably late February.

This delay in getting an aide - about 6-8 weeks, caused "increasing concern" with the teachers and administrators. So we are meeting at 4 pm today to discuss "A Plan", as mentioned above.

I'm sorry, did you not sign up for a 2:14 teacher to student ratio? And, I'm sorry if, though your poor planning, 10 of those 14 kids are 4 year old boys - rambunctious all.

So tell me again how it is my responsibility to pay $500 for an additional aide in the classroom when I am already shelling out about $13,000 a year to you to play with my kid from 9 am - 4 p.m.? Maybe I am the developmentally disabled one, because I just don't get it.

The Director reports Jack is not the first PDD-NOS kiddo the JCC has had and that he certainly won;t be the last. My question - was each of the previous kid's families responsible for providing their own teacher on their own payroll> I think not, but I guess I'll find that out today.

I think they don't need help specifically with Jack (although I acknowledge he has challenges, most of you have met him and were surprised that anything was diagnosed because he is so high functioning). I think they need help because they have 10 hyper 4-year-old boys for 8 hours a day and 4 kind of emotional little girls. I would pull my hair out. But you know what? I didn't go to school for this and sign up for it as my chosen profession. You did.

Man up. This is not a crisis and we do not need "A Plan." We need for people to have learned from the extremely capable Kylie while she was there for a month. How was she able to keep Jack in classroom? Well, maybe the two other teachers should model that, ya' think? We need for you to acknowledge that we cam into this school year with no diagnosis and 2 teachers and, while it was a challenge, it was workable.

What has changed? The diagnosis and the fact that the two teachers saw how much easier a third set of hands made their lives. Would someoen please tell me how it is my responsibility to pay for that third teacher now that Kylie is back at school? If I am going to shell out $1500 a meonth, I just as soon take Jack someplace where the teacher ratio is 1:3 and he is getting intensive therapy.

And if you don't want him here, you should have told us this months ago. We will gladly spend $13,000 a year somewhere else.

1 comment:

Beth said...

As a former preschool teacher that is a load of crap. The teachers need to have control of their rooms and it sounds like they just want the extra help. Do you have another classroom you could have him switched too? The make up of a class can effect lots of things in the room and maybe Jack can flourish in a different group.

Good luck!